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Carter v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 1, 2019

KEVIN LADEXTER CARTER A/K/A "DECK" A/K/A KEVIN CARTER APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/09/2018

          COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: WINSTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOSEPH H. LOPER JR.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: MOLLIE MARIE McMILLIN GEORGE T. HOLMES

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: ALLISON ELIZABETH HORNE

          BEFORE J. WILSON, P.J., McDONALD AND McCARTY, JJ.

          MCDONALD, J.

         ¶1. Kevin Ladexter Carter was convicted of second degree murder, aggravated assault, and felon in possession of a firearm in the circuit court of Winston County, Mississippi. Carter was sentenced to serve forty years on the second-degree murder charge, twenty years on the aggravated-assault charge, and ten years on the firearm charge, with the sentences running consecutively. Carter appeals, claiming error in the admission of prior incidents of domestic violence between him and the deceased. Finding no error, we affirm the convictions and sentences.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Angela Collier and Delisa Joyce Aills were co-workers, friends, and roommates who lived in a trailer next door to Collier's grandmother. Collier (age 40) and Carter had an on-again-off-again relationship since they were teenagers. But the relationship had grown increasingly abusive, culminating in Carter's shooting and killing Collier on February 12, 2017.

         ¶3. On that evening, Aills was woken by a scream. Collier and Carter were arguing in the bathroom and, grabbing a pocket knife she kept on her TV, Aills ran to Collier's call for help.[1] She found Collier on the floor of the bathroom and Carter with a rifle. Aills attempted to stab Carter with her knife so she could get Collier out. Aills said Carter hit her in the shoulder with the stock of the gun. He then hit her in the face and stomped and kicked her when she fell to the floor, causing her severe facial injuries.[2] When Collier tried to intervene, Carter started beating her as well. Aills managed to get out of the trailer, and she ran next door for help.

         ¶4. Johnny Shumaker, Collier's uncle, who lived with his mother in a trailer on the same property, came to Aills's aid.[3] He said he thought he heard thunder and "a 'pow' like lightning." He saw Aills come staggering across the yard, bleeding from her eyes. She told Shumaker that Carter had shot Collier and Shumaker called the police.[4] Shumaker and Aills returned to the trailer to find Collier in the bedroom, bleeding heavily from a gunshot wound to her leg and unable to communicate. Carter had left the scene. Emergency personnel arrived and transported Collier to the hospital where she died from the gunshot wound.

         ¶5. Both Aills and Shumaker testified about prior domestic-violence incidents they had witnessed between Carter and Collier. A month earlier, on New Year's Eve, Collier had run into Aills's bedroom for help. Carter followed her with a .40 caliber gun, which he had cocked. Aills lay on top of Collier to protect her. Shumaker, who was also present, heard Carter threaten Collier, saying he was going to "bust [her] [expletive] head." Carter also said that he would kill Collier and it was only Aills's and Shumaker's presence that saved her "this time." Shumaker was able to get Carter out of the bedroom and Collier filed domestic abuse charges against Carter in justice court.[5]

         ¶6. On another occasion, Shumaker said that Collier ran to his house screaming that Carter was "jumping on her." Shumaker saw Carter, who was drunk, pursuing Collier with a two-by-four. Carter told Collier that he was "fixing to bust [her] [expletive] head." Carter then said he "knew how to get her" and he doused Collier's car with gasoline. He was prepared to set it on fire, but he ran when Collier called the police.

         ¶7. Shumaker testified to another incident the summer before, when Shumaker showed Carter a photo on his phone. Collier believed it was a picture of a woman, and she and Carter began arguing. Collier ran into the trailer, and Carter barred the back door. He then went in the front door, and Shumaker could see and hear them fighting. Shumaker also testified about another incident that occurred on Mother's Day of 2016, when Collier hugged cousins visiting ...


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